Adam Bloomfield

Arrow review – Season 4 episodes 1-3

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Arrow

 

Episode 1 – Green Arrow

Arrow finally returned to Sky 1 in the wake of its sister show the Flash. So when we last left them in season 3 the League of Assassins had been defeated and Oliver left the role of the Arrow behind so where are they now when season 4 kicks off?

Picking up not long after the season 3 finale we see Oliver (Stephen Amell) and Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) reluctantly return to the dangerous life they tried so hard to leave behind when Laurel (Black Canary) and Thea (Speedy) come seeking his aid with a new threat in their city. After returning and helping to deal with the problem, the writers finally gave the audience what they wanted which was seeing Oliver finally take on the name Green Arrow.

The first episode was packed with plenty of combat scenes and drama as tensions continued between Oliver and Diggle (John Ramsey) which left me wondering if they will repair their relationship over the course of the season. It was also amazing to see Thea (Willa Holland) don her vigilante persona as Speedy (In the comics there is a female Speedy) but I was left curious about the levels of aggression she gave off while fighting crime.

I was extremely excited that Laurel (Katie Cassidy) was finally following her destiny as the Black Canary. As much as I did like Sara Lance I am a comic book loyalist so seeing Laurel take over the Canary mantle in season 3 was a dream come true.  After a bumpy start we see Laurel firmly settle into her role although we didn’t get to see the Canary Cry which I was a little disappointed at.

I was happy to see Damien Darkh (Neal McDonough) as the big bad. Mentioned by Ra’s Al Ghul in the third season, this incarnation of Darkh is cold and ruthless as the leader of the mysterious organization H.I.V.E. I know H.I.V.E from the animated Teen Titans show but what their motives and goals are on Arrow are a mystery so I’m looking forward to seeing them do battle with Team Arrow. Team Arrow will need to fly straight and true to handle this threat.

Overall I thought it was an explosive masterpiece to kick off the new series with plenty of twists and mysteries I can’t wait to see unravel as the series like will Oliver defeat Darkh? Will Thea become more and more volatile? What is Detective Lance’s (Paul Blackthorne) connection with Damien Darkh? Time will tell.

The only real dislike I had with this episode was the continuing flashbacks of Oliver. As much as they help illuminate Oliver’s past with Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai Robinson) and A.R.G.U.S. I can’t help but feel that the writers focus more on the past than the present which is a little annoying when you want to see Oliver as the Green Arrow now.

The big question was at the end of the episode who did the gravestone that Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Oliver were grieving over belong to?

 

 

Episode 2 – The Candidate

Continuing on from last week’s explosive episode Oliver and co. are attempting to clean up the streets that are under threat from the villainy of H.I.V.E and the Ghosts who are terrorizing Star City. The main focus of this episode was the relationship between Oliver and Thea as brother and sister joined forces out in the field.

The villain of this week as Anarky whom I know from Batman: Arkham Origins. Seeing this loose cannon of a villain brought to life on the small screen was a nice touch as it presents a challenge that Team Arrow haven’t come up against before. Although the borderline psychotic baddie was defeated by Green Arrow and Speedy there was a clue that he would return later on in the season to wreak his revenge which has me hoping he will return soon.

Laurel and Diggle primarily remained in the background of this episode although Laurel’s next story arc came into play at the end of the episode along with Thea. Thea’s descent into madness reminds me of Faith from the Buffyverse who like Thea, struggled with her sanity and dark emotions but all the while delivering a serious butt kicking to the bad guys.

To advance the story we see Oliver, Laurel, Thea and Diggle once again square off against Damien Darkh’s forces and Anarky who seems intent on causing as much chaos in Star City in general by targeting the leaders of Star City. Although both Darkh and Anarky were beaten Oliver grows deeply concerned for Thea’s state of mind as she shows no sign of restraint while fighting. We also see Oliver deciding to chase a new path in helping rescue Star City.

The relationship between Oliver and Detective Lance is still badly fractured because of the events of the last season and shows no sign of being repaired right now. With Lance’s involvement with Damien Darkh still being kept from Team Arrow for now it provides an interesting outlook of what will happen once the vigilante squad find out.

At the end of the episode we watch Laurel and Thea depart for the League of Assassin’s turf in Nanda Parbat after digging up the body of Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) aka The Canary. Because Sara has been seen with a new destiny by assuming the mantle of White Canary in the second spin off to Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow I can safely assume Sara Lance will be brought back from the dead.

Continuing with the use of flashbacks we see Oliver return to a very familiar location and embracing his dark side completely as part of a military operation with A.R.G.U.S but what is Oliver doing working for them this time?

So this episode lacked the gritty explosiveness that the season opener offered but it was still a good episode to keep the story going with plenty of action and combat to make even the most hardened vigilante fan including myself excited and wanting to see more but until next week I can wait.

Episode 3 – Restoration

So we finally got to see Sara Lance be brought back from the dead via the famed Lazarus Pit from the Batman universe. Seeing an iconic piece of superhero lore brought to life did not disappoint as it leads to many new and exciting storylines. Well it would have if one member of the League of Assassins didn’t have her way.

While Laurel and Thea were in Nanda Parbat messing around with supernatural forces that border on the black arts and dealing with Merlyn and the League of Assassins (John Barrowman) Oliver and Diggle were still dealing with the tensions between them that were still unresolved at the end of the last season.

Felicity bless her, tried her best to diffuse the strain between the former friends but it was something they would have to handle on their own. Thankfully a new meta-human (A human with special abilities like the Flash) arrived on the scene that they could take out their aggression out on.

Damien Darkh pits the villainous Double Down (JR Bourne) a superhuman who can make his playing card tattoos become deadly weapons against the duo of Green Arrow and Diggle. With powers like that maybe Double Down could put famous card throwers to shame. Even Gambit of X-Men fame would be intimidated.

Caity Lotz’s performance as the newly resurrected Sara left me wondering how much damage can she cause in the state she was brought back in, it was like she was almost completely feral when she attempted to flee and attack Laurel and Thea. The emotional state that Nyssa Al Ghul (Katrina Law) was in when Laurel attempted to break the laws of nature really struck a chord with me as Nyssa remarked that if Sara were brought back she wouldn’t be the same Sara she fell in love with once upon a time. It brought on the emotional aspect that things that are dead should stay dead because seeing them alive will bring back the hurt

Back in Star City it was nice to see Oliver and Diggle have each other’s backs once again as they attempted to take down Double Down. The bond that had been severed in season 3 had finally been repaired and as Felicity said “Here’s to OTA…Original Team Arrow.”

Speaking of Felicity it was brilliant to see her finally stop hiding behind Oliver and the others and take matters into her own hands and starting shooting down however gets in her way with the help of an automatic assault rifle. I was dismissive of her role in the third season but she’s slowly starting to redeem herself in my eyes.

With plenty of action, drama and heartbreak I was intensely glued to my screen and left speechless at some of the scenes which left me clamoring for more and more superhero/vigilante action.

Here’s hoping episode 4 continues the trend going on at the moment with the lighter shade that breaks the darkness left over from the last season.

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